Ravens GM Eric DeCosta Talks Decision To Pass On Receivers At Draft
The Baltimore Ravens pulled off a big-time shocker at day one of last week’s NFL Draft by dealing top wide receiver Marquise Brown and a third-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the No. 23 selection.
With an additional 2022 first-round pick at their disposal, many assumed that the Ravens would take a receiver to make up for the loss of Brown. Instead, the Ravens traded down two spots via the Buffalo Bills and selected Iowa Center Tyler Linderbaum 25th overall.
Even without a proven WR1 on the roser, the Ravens’ 2022 draft was well-received by pundits, and they’re once again in position to contend for the Super Bowl.
It is widely believed that more major sportsbooks will soon launch in the state of Maryland. Ravens fans should know that the available Maryland sports betting apps will likely include Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet.
Ravens fans can even bet on their team winning the AFC North division and/or the Super Bowl. They have +2200 odds of winning the Lombardi Trophy at both FanDuel and DraftKings next season. Star quarterback Lamar Jackson also has +2000 and +2500 odds of winning the 2022 league MVP at FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively.
In round two, the Ravens took Michigan linebacker David Ojabo. And in round three, DeCosta selected UConn nose tackle Travis Jones. In the end, DeCosta didn’t take a single wideout with his haul of picks.
DeCosta explained why the Ravens passed on receivers, noting that he’s also confident in the team’s current receiver group.
“It wasn’t for a lack of effort,” DeCosta said, via Kevin Oestreicher of Ravens Wire. “I think, honestly, the fact that there was a run of receivers in the first round like there was…I wouldn’t say it was a great receiver class in general, compared to some of the years. There were very good players at the top. So, for us, it was a good draft, and there were really good players at other positions.
“There were some receivers that we liked; we tried to take a couple guys at different points. But, again, one of the phenomenon’s that we’ve seen is that those receivers get picked really, really early now…I said this last year, but we like our receivers, we do. We’ve seen growth, we’ve seen our guys mature and develop.”
Marquise Brown Reportedly Didn’t Like His Fit In Ravens Offense
The Brown trade caught many football fans off guard for a variety of reasons. Not only is he a valuable impact player entering his prime years, but there weren’t many signs that suggested a trade could be in the works.
In his weekly Football Morning In America column, NBC Sports’ Peter King provided more details that led to the trade. According to King, Brown wasn’t happy in the offense and had no desire to remain a Raven:
“This I know: He didn’t want to be in Baltimore anymore. He didn’t like the offense—too conservative; not enough big-strike opportunities—and he welcomes a reunion with his college quarterback, Kyler Murray. We’re in a different time in football, and probably in sports.”
Baltimore drafted Brown 25th overall in 2019. After inconsistent rookie and sophomore seasons, he managed to break out in 2021 by notching career bests in catches (91) and receiving yards (1,008). The speedy Brown has been especially impactful in the red zone, with 21 career receiving TDs in 46 games.
With Brown no longer on the roster, 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman will get the prime opportunity to slot in as Jackson’s new go-to receiver. Bateman caught 46 passes for 515 yards and one touchdown in 12 games last season.
Brown joins an ultra-talented Arizona offense that features Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green, Zach Ertz and James Conner. Playing in a more pass-happy offense will give Brown every opportunity to develop into a multi-time Pro Bowler.
DeCosta Says “Nothing’s Changed On” Jackson’s Contract Status
Jackson is entering the final season of his rookie deal —the Ravens picked up his fifth-year option last season — but the two sides don’t seem anywhere close on reaching an extension any time soon.
Speaking to reporters on the weekend, DeCosta stated that there’s no update on the contract status of the 2019 league MVP.
“Nothing’s really changed on that front,” DeCosta said, per Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk. “I’m really excited because we’re excited about Lamar. He’s been working quite a bit out in California, down in Florida. We are getting great reports.”
The quarterback market has exploded over the last two years, and that obviously bodes well for Jackson. Since 2020, eight quarterbacks have signed a contract worth over $100 million, per Spotrac.
The Ravens have emerged as a bonafide Super Bowl contender ever since Jackson stepped in as their starter in the midst of the 2018 season.
He holds an impressive 37-12 record as a starter with 84 passing touchdowns against 31 interceptions. On top of that, Jackson already has 3,673 career rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns in only 58 games.
Jackson doesn’t use an agent and handles negotiations on his own. There’s little reason to think that the 25-year–old and the Ravens won’t eventually reach an agreement on a new contract.
At this point, the only questions are when the deal will be signed, and what the money and term will look like.